Law Doesn’t Protect ‘Subjective Preferences’ Of Trans People To Use Bathrooms Of Choice, Ohio AG Determines

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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David Yost, Ohio’s Attorney General, determined that state laws do not protect the “subjective preferences” of transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity, upholding restrictions on bathroom usage to one’s biological sex.

Ohio law forbids public accommodations from denying a person “full enjoyment” of facilities within public accommodations on the basis of sex. The law doesn’t preclude sex-segregated spaces, which can actually enhance equal access to public facilities by making them safe for women and girls, Yost wrote in a Friday opinion in response to a request for clarification from a county prosecutor. (RELATED: Mother Sues After Trans Student Allegedly Assaults Daughter In School Bathroom)

“Nearly everyone in 1973 would have understood what almost everyone alive today understands still: providing women’s- and men’s-only spaces for certain functions will not deny, and may enhance, equal access to public facilities,” he wrote. “Allowing men to share bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms with women increases the ease with which biological males—most especially men who identify as men—can victimize women and girls.”

When bathrooms aren’t strictly divided by sex, observers are less likely to notice or report men in women’s bathrooms, which exposes women to safety risks, he argued.

“I do not wish to diminish the reality that some transgender individuals may feel uncomfortable or disrespected if made to abide by such policies. But in this context, as in so many other legal contexts, the law does not protect subjective preferences,” the opinion read. “Rather than allowing everyone to act as ‘a law unto himself,’ [the law] protects a right susceptible of objective measurement: equal access. This is a right to access facilities on equal terms, not to behave in whatever way one wishes upon receiving that access.”

The state legislature is currently considering a bill that would require students to use bathrooms aligned with their biological sex.

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